The scene: A longtime local institution, Hudson’s lives up to its “on the Docks,” name, sitting right at the water’s edge, removed from the more developed tourist epicenters of the nation’s first master planned community, Hilton Head Island. It is on the northern end of the island, one of the most popular beach, golf and tennis resort destinations in the country, very close to where visitors arrive by bridge. There are just two remaining commercial shrimping operations on Hilton Head, and one of them uses Hudson’s dock for free in exchange for the restaurant’s right of first refusal – the chef goes out every time the boat returns and checks the daily catch. They have similar arrangements for other Low Country seafood like fresh grouper and oysters.
A hole in the wall that everyone who lives here and many visitors know about, Hudson’s is a big warehouse-like building with a boat-shaped gift shop in its parking lot. Inside are a couple of large dining rooms with cinder block walls decorated with mounted fish, simple wooden tables and expansive picture windows showcasing the main event, Port Royal Sound and Skull Creek, which also happens to be one of the finest spots on the island to watch the sun set. Because so much of the seafood here is hands on, Hudson’s sets the table with blue towels instead of napkins, and the menu is in the form of a newspaper, “Dock Talk.” It is very locally popular and in peak summer season gets so busy that they hire teenagers to drive golf carts to remote corners of the vast parking lot to pick up far off diners. It’s a big restaurant, and in nicer weather has a large outside deck, but it still fills up – understandably. Read full article.